Small businesses can have a significant impact on the environment. However, it’s up to each individual business owner to determine if their actions make a difference. You might think that your environmental footprint is inconsequential, but it’s starting to become more prominent. For example, climate change is influencing how consumers shop for goods and services. This is why companies need to constantly analyze their customers’ sentiments. Over the past decade, consumers have become more conscious of the environment and the products they buy. This has pointed to a surge in the number of businesses that are doing more sustainable business. Here are our top sustainability tips for small business owners.
1. Eco-friendly packaging
Apart from being utilized as a marketing tool, packaging is also a vital part of an organization’s operations. It is used to wrap and ship various products. As a result, the packaging of your products contributes to over 23% of the material that ends up in landfills.
A survey conducted by Sendle revealed that 64 percent of respondents would be more likely to buy from a store that has compostable packaging. There are many options when it comes to types of packaging, such as recycling and cardboard. However, there are also some steps toward creating truly compostable packaging.
Here are a few ways to use eco-friendly packages:
Biodegradable package: Exchange single-use boxes for substances that break down swiftly and efficiently, like seaweed, wood pulp, corn starch, and mycelium.
Make it practical: Having the proper packaging for a product is essential to ensure that its consumers are satisfied. Not entirely does it look great, but it also helps keep the environment clean. Having well-designed and attractive packaging also helps retain the brand’s value.
Don’t use more than one material: If your packaging comprises two different polymers, for example, that can render it unrecyclable. If you need to use plastic, adhere to one type.
2. Sustainable Storage
While it’s essential to preserve products for sale, storing them before they’re sold can add up to a lot of greenhouse gas emissions. Here are a few points:
- Pick an eco-friendly amenity that practices renewable energy for climate control, such as solar panels.
- Store products in green containers rather than plastics.
- If you have to get rid of products you no longer use, consider donating them rather than tossing them away.
3. Reduce paperwork and use sustainable products
The US Department of Energy states that the standard office uses over 12 trillion sheets of paper a year. By making the switch to online bills and paperwork, you can cut down on paper waste and increase your storage space. Although it’s admirable to work from a desk free of paper, it’s also possible to save thousands of trees by sourcing paper from sustainable sources. Just make sure to recycle once finished with it.
Office supplies such as cleaning products and paper should be avoided since they tend to have a negative effect on the environment. Instead, try using green cleaning products that are made from natural and eco-friendly chemicals. They keep toxic chemicals out of the streams and landfills.
Ensure that the promotional items you give away are used for a good reason instead of just being used as promotional trinkets. Also, make sure that they are recyclable and can be reused. The first step in reducing waste is to reduce its usage. This can be achieved by reducing the use of non-biodegradable plates and utensils.
4. Waste reduction
Decreasing waste is a win-win for companies because it benefits both the environment and your bottom line. Instead of sending out promotional materials that are outdated and cluttered, send them to the digital realm and engage in social media. Instead of throwing out crumpled boxes, try taking advantage of the space in the warehouse. Also, encourage employees to reuse various items. When it comes to recycling, it’s the next best thing. Having a bin in a city makes it much easier to leave the trash can empty.
Websites use a lot of energy to store and transmit their data. However, there are ways to reduce this amount, such as storing it in a carbon-neutral location. For example, in response to the threat of climate change, Google has decarbonized its data centers and is committed to achieving zero net carbon emissions.
5. Discover environmental certifications & initiatives
With more consumers becoming aware of the environmental impacts of their businesses, you must back up your claims with evidence. Obtain a legit green business certification. The following certifications can help back up your claims:
- Green C Certification for promoting environmentally conscientious practices
- USDA Certified Organic seal for 100% organically manufactured food
- Green Business Bureau certificate for establishing an office “Green Team” and other domestic endeavors
- B Corp Sustainability certification for your modern and long term environmental and social review
6. Do business with green businesses
Carbon-neutral businesses can also find various solutions for their specific needs. From web hosting to freight forwarding, carbon-neutral companies can help companies to reduce their carbon footprint. Many small businesses rely on their supply chain to make their operations sustainable. Doing so depends on the companies that they support.
7. Purchase carbon offsets
Even if a company can’t reduce its carbon footprint through changes, purchasing carbon offsets can help move it toward carbon neutrality. In addition, a carbon marketplace can help businesses reduce their carbon footprint. There is an assortment of possibilities when it comes to choosing a carbon solution.
Here are several prominent carbon offset organizations to begin the carbon-neutral campaign with:
- Cool Effect
- South Pole
- Native Energy
Multiple routes to sustainability
Even though a company’s carbon footprint is different, as a whole, we all have a part to play in discussing the environmental issues that threaten our planet. Likewise, even though businesses of all sizes have a role in addressing climate change, it is up to each individual to make a difference. By focusing on sustainability, business owners can pave the way for customers to shop more responsibly and think about how their shopping habits impact the world around them.